What if *You* Had Won the Mega Millions Jackpot?

by Katy on April 4, 2012 · 57 comments

I am not a lottery game player. Sure, I’ve bought a few scratch-off tickets through the years, but I’ve never bought the type where you have to choose numbers. But I do have to say that I was sorely tempted last week to pick up a ticket or two. Because it  sure would be awesome to have an extra 656 million dollars floating around my checking account.

I started to think about what I would do if I had that kind of money, and here’s what I came up with:

  1. I would hire a professional contractor to finish all the projects in my 98-year-old house. And I would also pay off my mortgage.
  2. I would stop worrying about how my kids will afford college.
  3. I would give a hefty endowment to Portland Public Schools so they can stop cutting essential services. Heck, might even do it for the entire state of Oregon!
After that, I’m not really sure what I would do. I would probably keep my job, as a nursing license dies on the vine if you don’t work a certain number of hours. I’d still shop at Goodwill, although I’d probably feel guilty about it.

I then asked my husband what he would do if he won the Mega Millions Jackpot, and here was his answer:

“I would build my own soccer field.”

Umm . . . okay. Apparently, it would have a couple different fields and be real grass. What can I say? The man’s passion is soccer!

My step-father said he would give a million dollars to each of his close family members, (Yay for me, as he has no kids of his own!)

My 16-year-old son answered that he would “Buy 1000 cats.” (Because you know, there’s currently no such thing as a straight answer.)

How about you, what would you do if you won $656,000,000? Please share your answers in the comments section below.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without”

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{ 57 comments… read them below or add one }

Kaylen April 4, 2012 at 4:42 am

– quit my job
– pay off my mortgage
– spend ridiculous amounts of time in my garden
– pay off my parents’ mortgage
– get a third dog
– finish the renovations on my 130 year old house
– rebuild my garage with reclaimed bricks that match my house
– pay my friend who’s a seamstress to alter my clothes so they fit better
– lobby for small flocks of hens to be allowed on urban properties in my neighborhood, and if successful have a small flock of hens
– go back to school
– buy an electric car so I can take the dogs to the dog park every day (I don’t currently own a car and I’m pretty happy with it, but with 65 million it’d be pretty tempting)


Cate April 4, 2012 at 5:33 am

“I would buy 1000 cats” hahahaha!

I would:
-Sell our house, move to New England, and buy a nice, reasonably-sized house in cash
-My husband would quit his job and pursue writing full-time
-We would have a third child (and hire help for when I’m inevitably struck with hyperemesis)
-Give a million dollars each to a few family members and my best friends
-Travel the world
-Definitely stop worrying about paying for kids’ college
-Still live fairly frugally in the day-to-day, and enjoy simple pleasures like a cup of tea in the afternoon
-Buy more books, but still use the library constantly
-Give money to libraries


Alison April 4, 2012 at 5:34 am

I would buy a new car for my husband, because it is starting to be a financial drain. And, I would set aside the money for my kids to go to college. And, finally I would move to a more rural area in a house with land, a massive garage, and a big kitchen.


Christy April 4, 2012 at 5:43 am

I would:

Faint, again
Call our attorney
Set up trust funds for our kiddos
Pay off all our bills and mortgage
Pay off bills and mortgages for parents/in-laws
Maybe move to another house so I can have a huge garden, chickens, and solar panels
Buy a hybrid or electric vehicle
Help (secretly) a lot of people I know who need financial assistance
Take a trip or three
Give away a majority of the money to arts programs, colleges, public schools, medical research, Doctors Without Borders, etc.

That much money could do so much good for so many people.


EcoCatLady April 4, 2012 at 9:38 am

I love it! Especially the fainting part!


Linda H. April 4, 2012 at 5:48 am

I never play the lottery, but made an exception for the mega-millions. Nope, didn’t win.

I would have:
Paid off our mortgage
Paid off family member’s mortgages
Put aside college funds for neice and nephew
Built a new building for the SPCA and given them a boatload of $

Can’t think of any “things” I would have bought.

I’d still shop the thrifts also. ..and probably wouldn’t feel guilty.


Becca April 4, 2012 at 5:54 am

I would:
-Donate a bunch of money to the St. John Animal Care Center. I donate to several animal shelters, but this one is unique because with enough money the problem really COULD be solved/maintained. It is an island, and is only so big.
-I’d cut my hours at work
-I’d hire a personal trainer and focus on my health

The rest I’d sit on. I’m still young, so I’m still not sure exactly where my life is going to take me or what will become important to me.


Molly April 4, 2012 at 6:16 am

What a fun game.
– hire a nutritionist
– hire a personal trainer
– put in my two weeks’ notice
– get health care (without the job, no health care)
– get a massage
– donate


Tricia April 4, 2012 at 6:19 am

I would-
-pay off my mortgage
-pay off my husband’s student loans and our other debt
-quit my job, stay at home with my kids
-set aside money for my kids college
-pay off the mortgage for each of my parents/in-laws
-plan to have a 3rd child without question
-give to charity, especially ones focused on animals
-live as I always have and not worry about the financial future


Linda April 4, 2012 at 6:26 am

I have thought about this. I only buy one ticket when it is a huge lottery. Probably only 3 times per year.

I would keep half and live off the interest in ultra save bonds. This would keep myself, husband and kids with money.

The other half I would:
-split amongst our parents, siblings
-some would go to my uncles, aunts and cousins
-a handful of dear friends (they know who they are)
-I would build a wing onto our local library and set up an endowment for future purchases
-endowments for all 3 public schools that my kids attend
-endowment for our local senior center for an adult day care. This would help people care for their parents who need assistance during the day while they work
-I would not work because I would not want to take a job from people who really need it.
-I would expand my volunteer work at the library, senior center and schools
-I would have all the landscaping, repairs, clean etc done by someone else.

That’s what I would do with the money.


Jennifer April 4, 2012 at 6:28 am

We have no debt, so nothing to pay off!! Since we live in housing provided by my hubbies employer we would first buy/build a house. I would like it to be a house with some acreage, some forested and some tillable as I would probably start my own organic veggie business. Would probably buy another “get away” house. I would give parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters $1mill apiece and probably fund nice vacations for the family every year. Obviously the kids college funds would be handled. I would give $ to causes I am passionate about, the environment, persons with disablilities, disadvantages, children and senior organizations, parks. And I would finally travel, many places in the world I would like to see and experience.


Sarah Sloan April 4, 2012 at 6:29 am

Feed as many starving children in Africa as I could.


Linda in Indiana April 4, 2012 at 6:51 am

I would:
Help my kids and grandkids
Help church
Buy a very modest vacation home or trailer in a warm climate
Help deserving organizations
With that said, we did not buy a lottery ticket. Do rarely buy scratch offs. But, just think how much winning would complicate your life. You would be working full time managing it via a financial advisor and have “friends” and “needy???” people wanting to be on your bankroll. It is said most lottery winners go through their winnings in five years. Perhaps we are the winners after all! 🙂


Jenny April 4, 2012 at 7:27 am

I was thinking about that, too. I live in a very small town and I think it could be weird to interact with people if everyone knew you’d won $56 million dollars.


Carla April 4, 2012 at 6:53 am

oh the fantasy!
Pay off my mortgage and immediate family members, probably buy a slightly bigger house for our family of 5.
Set up funds for my parents so they can be financially secure.
quit job
savings for college
endowment for the school I attended
pay for education for siblings
travel to see far flung family and friends
buy an electric car
buy a small farm that with other people we could make a viable homestead
set up my own business making vegan cakes and sugar-free preserves
hire personal trainer and nutritionist
and just try to keep my head on my shoulders!


Elspeth @ paper armour April 4, 2012 at 6:56 am

– pay off all our student loans
– buy a modest house, in full!
– give my parents and in laws some money
– give a hefty chunk to various charities, our church, some missionaries we support, yada yada yada
– try to figure out a way to give some to friends and family in a way that doesn’t embarrass us all and make things awkward.

And if I’m being honest, I’d renovate the basement in said modest home to be a home theater with all the bells and whistles. (not the unnecessary bells and whistles, but the standard home theater ones. big screen, comfy seats, Blu Ray, and good sound. No at-home 3D for this chick, that’s what movie theaters are for.)


Sarah April 4, 2012 at 7:15 am

I would:

– buy a house
– pay off all our debt
– put back enough for our kids’ college educations
– make a donation to our local library system
– probably still live pretty frugally, stick to a grocery budget, shop the thrift stores, etc.


Jennifer G. April 4, 2012 at 7:19 am

Buy a nice, modestly sized home in the city.
Quit my job. Use the extra time to travel, sew, garden, cook and volunteer.
Give my parents, in-laws and close friends lots and lots of money.
Give a large chunk to the church I attended in college.
New cars for me and the hubby.
Large donation to an organization supporting foster families.
More large donations, buying more things, giving more money to my friends and family…


mrs.p April 4, 2012 at 7:26 am

I would not want to win too much money. Would reck my life. but hubby would move donate money to community and pay for the kids education.


Sara April 4, 2012 at 7:30 am

A fun game, although I grew up with my parents chronically playing this game Every Week while gripping their lottery tickets in their hands … all that dreaming never got us anywhere.

But it’s still fun. I would:

1. Fund an alternative private school in town that is struggling
2. Start my own Dream Alternative School (and not have to charge any kids tuition! Free!)
3. Hire a personal assistant to do the things I don’t like to do (get the oil changed in the car, deal with the cell phone company)
4. Take my mother to Germany for her birthday
5. Remodel my mother’s falling down 100+ year old farm house
6. Create a Foundation for environmental and educational causes
7. Set up reasonable size trust funds for my kids


Mindy April 4, 2012 at 7:39 am

I’m with you – I have daily fantasies of handing someone our to-do list of house projects. My own personal Handy Manny. I would pee myself if I could take that ever-growing list down off the fridge.
I’d also pay off our mortgage, put money away for college (times 3), give money to immediate family members, go on a family vacation somewhere warm…..those are the firsts. With that kind of money, you could do all kinds of amazing things.


Nicole April 4, 2012 at 8:27 am

My boyfriend and I share any windfalls, so we would each end up with 328 million. I would:
-give 5 million to each of my parents (they are married, but I would want them to both be able to do what they want with the money), and my brother
-give a million each to my grandparents, and aunts and uncles
-give $100,000 to each of my first cousins for their college educations, or the educations of their kids
-go to school for business, accounting and fibre arts
-pay off my credit card (less than $1000)
-pay off the debt to my parents (just under $1000)
-buy the newest iPhone, iPad and MacBook Pro
-give $100,000 to my former boss to help him keep his restaurant open, and contribute to the college funds of his three sons
-give $100,000 each to 5 local businesses that I support
-give $50,000 to 10 of my closest friends
-offer money to my friend so she can quit her job at the library, and re-open the consignment store she had to close for financial reasons. I would continue to support this store, and sell my knitwear there
-pay the monthly fees to sell my knitwear at local co-ops and consignment stores (about $250 a month)
-buy a bunch of nice yarn from independent yarn companies
-go on an etsy shopping spree, so I can spread my wealth around internationally
-travel with my boyfriend back to Iceland for at least 6 months (we would split the cost of this)
-take a cruise around the world, and then travel back to my favourite places (we would split the cost of this, as well)
-get married?

It’s fun to dream about stuff like this. Realistically, no one ever needs that much money all to themselves. I am too lazy to figure out the math right now, but I would live off of whatever was left, and probably contribute to the art and music scene in my city.


fiwa April 4, 2012 at 8:33 am

Fun subject. 🙂 I will admit, I did buy a few tickets.

If I won I would use half of the money to give to friends and family/buy them things they’ve always wanted. I would do things like, buy a house for a young couple I know. Buy a new car for another friend. I would buy a nicer home for my mom – the condo she lives in has terrible plumbing. I would take my friends and family on a luxury cruise or something similar. Basically, I would try (and probably fail, I realize that) to fix any problem they’ve ever had and make everyone perfectly happy. Hey – I can dream. 😉

With the other half I would buy a house that has a little more space (mine is so tiny I can’t store an extra pack of toilet paper), and I would entertain all the time. That’s about it for me. I would still shop at Good Will and Value Village, and I wouldn’t feel guilty about it because I’m saving stuff from going in the landfill and not buying new. Oh, and maybe I’d start my own animal shelter.


Paula in the UP April 4, 2012 at 9:17 am

I would :
*Payoff our mortgage, but I would also build a new home on a lake. Nothing too big, but plenty of room for our kids and their eventual families to come to and visit.

*Payoff or pay for a home for both our daughters, also get them each a car and pay off student loans.

*Give close friends and family each $1 million.

*Donate to animal shelters, rescues….etc.

*Take an amazing vacation !!!!!!!!!!!!


Rose April 4, 2012 at 9:48 am

1) Like most people, I’d pay off all our debts. We don’t have a mortgage, but have an embarrassingly large balance in consumer debt and student loans. Don’t worry, I’m already on a mission to pay it all off soonest.

2) Figure out what to do with a bunch of the money so that we could effectively live off the interest. Quit my job.

3) Secretly help out friends with their debts. No one should have to deal with that kind of slavery!

4) Start living in Argentina at least half of the year. Immerse myself in tango!


EcoCatLady April 4, 2012 at 9:54 am

Ha! Well it’s an interesting question isn’t it?

It sounds like such a panacea, but the truth is it would probably be a horrible curse. I mean once they publish your name you’re totally screwed. So you’d probably have to move into a gated community whether you wanted to or not. You’d have to cancel all of your email accounts and phone numbers because they’d be instantly hacked… And forget FaceBook etc – I don’t actually have a FB account, but can you imagine? Every person under the sun would suddenly want to be your best buddy. It would be like being surrounded by sycophants 24/7.

All that being said… if I could somehow come into millions of dollars without anyone being the wiser, I’m not really sure what I’d do. There are plenty of home projects that I’d love to have done… but the truth is that money isn’t what holds me back from hiring someone to do them… it’s just such a huge pain to have work done on the house. The idea of going solar is attractive, but once again there’s the pain in the ass factor.

I dunno… I’m pretty happy with my little life. I don’t have to work, and I pretty much have everything I want and need. The truth is that the idea of having boatloads of money sort of scares me. Seems like it might be hard not to fall back into the trap of consumerism all over again. And I already know that more money doesn’t lead to happiness…


Katy April 4, 2012 at 10:17 am

You know, you can keep it all anonymous.



namastemama April 4, 2012 at 4:51 pm

The IL winner has to come forward and can not remain anonymous. FYI, I live just a few miles from where the winning ticket was sold.

I can not even imagine what I would do with that kind of money.

I’d put my house up for sale in a nano second and be a foster parent for sure. Maybe I’d even give the house away. That would be fun. I’d also support Habitat for Humanity and lots of other non profits.


Megg April 4, 2012 at 9:58 am

1. Pay off all my debt.
2. Set aside money to pay cash on our next house (if we decide to move, which we likely will)
3. Set aside money for my future kids to go to college.
4. Donate a butt-ton (that’s an exact number) to pancreatic cancer research and the local cat shelter I volunteer with.
5. BUY a library so I can finally work in one!
6. Pass out whatever is left to my family!

What I would not do:
Quit my job. I love it and I’d be bored stiff. I might have kids though, since, you know, we could actually afford them!


M. April 4, 2012 at 10:06 am

i would pay off my student loans, get a cat, buy a house (so i could have that cat), fix my mothers asbestosy roof, share with all my loved ones, buy a traditional norwegian folk costume and the rest would probably go to charity 🙂


Maureen April 4, 2012 at 10:23 am

We would:
– buy 3 houses: 1 in the Outer Banks of NC, 1 in the Adirondacks of NY, and 1 in the Florida Keys.
– buy a house for the daughter and pay off her student loans and the son-in-law’s student loans
– buy various cars for neices and nephews (my husband promised them already)
– buy the property adjacent to my house that is zoned commercial so that no big huge company could come in and build something horrible that would suck the life out of this small town. The woods are just too wonderful to part with.


Margaret April 4, 2012 at 10:35 am

I was thinking about this recently…

1. Pay off my husband’s (I mean, our) student loan debt.
2. Buy a modest ranch house near his office. I love ranch houses. Stairs are a pain.
3. Buy a second car with cash. Probably upgrade our current car… with cash.
4. Make a big donation to our church.
5. Have fun selecting a charity or charities that my husband and I want to support financially. We are passionate about many causes, and it would be fun to finally put some money (I mean, serious money) where our mouths are.
6. Do one fun but modest thing… a vacation or something. Maybe rent a big beach house and invite our entire extended family.
7. Plan more trips to see my folks who live far away (too far to drive) and maybe fly first class at least while my children are very young.
8. Increase our grocery budget so we could really eat only local, organic, delicious, quality food all of the time. And then be just as vigilant about not wasting food!
9. Get family memberships for all the fun things in our area (this is currently beyond our budget) like the YMCA, the zoo, art museums, Audubon society, a really nice local beach, the museum of science, etc.
10. Invest the rest and try to forget about it for a while.


joyce April 4, 2012 at 11:04 am

I did buy one ticket, I would have been happy to have only won part of it!
.pay off my home
.quit my job…in a heartbeat
.set up funds for parents, family and select friends(those that at least try)
.give to animals shelters and Indian Reservations
. try to fund classes for those that want to make a change in their lives to become more self sufficient
.set on my decks and patio whenever I want to with a book and a cup of ?
.hire all repair work to be done
.be very very thankful!


Mary April 4, 2012 at 12:11 pm

Pay off everything. Give our house to charity. Move to the Oregon coast (maybe Cannon Beach) -buy a cool house and enjoy everything. It would be wonderful to give large amounts of money to really great organizations that I currently give little bits of money. Also, I would love to pay for college educations for family members.
I don’t think I used very much money but once I got used to being RICH I could probably come up with other ideas.


Lori from Michigan April 4, 2012 at 12:56 pm

I could take proper care of my daughter, instead of always worrying. I’d be able to afford her dental needs, and her next set of hearings aids, and be able to send her to summer camp and dance class, etc. And of course send her to college.

For me, a small, sweet home. In it, a small sweet dog. I’d have lots of books, a veggie garden, and a quiet lifestyle.


Mary Kate April 4, 2012 at 1:02 pm

I would build an eco-friendly house with an indoor pool. The house would not be all that large and would not be fancy, but it would have an exercise room. Other than that I would keep a few million (for retirement), give a little to elderly family members and spend the rest on philantrophy.


A. Marie April 4, 2012 at 1:27 pm

A thought-provoking post, Katy. But, tempting as it is to fantasize about what I’d do with all that money, I’m not going to. I live in a socioeconomically mixed (to put it politely) neighborhood of my tired old Rust Belt city, and I see all too many dreams deferred in the form of scratched-off lottery tickets on the curbsides. I think it’s better to keep my spare change in my pocket and my dreams within my husband’s and my capabilities.


Kate April 4, 2012 at 1:41 pm

– Quit my job
– Spoil my son rotten
– Pay off my house
– Give some to all family members
– go on a vacation with all my whole darn family
– Quit my job
– Fence my land (3 acres)
– remodel my whole house
– Quit my job


Shannon April 4, 2012 at 2:49 pm

-Call the pastor to pray with me (Oh Lord, I would need some grounding!)
-Pay off the house and truck
-Set aside untouchable funds to send the boys to college
-Send the husband to finish his degree
-Take the kids to Austria to see their relatives, and heck, stay in Europe for the summer. Oh and Australia. And New Zealand. And South America….
-Live 100% on local/sustainable/organic foods
-put a new roof on the church
-Pay off my siblings’ house and help out a dear, retired aunt with her housing too.
-Spend my time volunteering or taking fun classes, like cooking or art.
-Take that six months and hike the Appalachian Trail!
-Give away the bulk of the money to charities and institutions I love.

What I love about these lists is that it’s probably all stuff we are already doing, just on a different scale. As I look over my list, there is really no reason I can’t keep working towards some degree of those things. Yeah, the AT, the rambling European summer and even a paid mortgage or the all organic diet all sound very pie-in-the-sky to me right now, but I can whittle away and enjoy some of that right now 🙂


Wendy April 4, 2012 at 4:18 pm

-quit my job(s)
-pay off all debt
-move the heck out of New York State and tell the Vampire State to KISS MY BUTT
-donate to my favorite charities
-pay off some of my good friends/family’s debt
-travel, travel and travel some more
-buy a vacation home in Key West
-buy a summer home in the mountains, near a stream on several hundred acres
-hire a personal massage therapist


Jenny April 4, 2012 at 5:32 pm

Aside from taking care of family personal and educational needs, and some humanitarian donations, I would become a cohousing investor/developer in Portland, buying up preferably contiguous homes that are for sale, in order to be retrofitted for energy efficiency, solar etc… and making them into intentional communities with gardening space, common space/houses and ADA accommodations so that they might be useful for seniors and disabled people. I would also think about some kind of scholarship program. I would also like to fund better outdoor play parks, covered spaces and gardens at Portland Public Schools facilities. A coastal retreat sounds nice too!


Debra April 5, 2012 at 3:02 pm

That’s an awesome idea, Jenny – I love the idea of community living, it’s very smart.


Indigo April 4, 2012 at 5:39 pm

Pay off my Mother’s debts
Buy her a small house with a lovely garden
Set up a college fund for my youngest siblings
Pay off my other siblings student debt
Pay off the mortgage and my student debt
Have someone else install the new flooring.
Not work summers and spend them painting, gardening, and visiting museums to my heart’s content.
Fix up the school I work at (install a fine arts wing while I’m at it)
Send some of those hard working students of mine off to college
Build a fancy adult tree house.

Honestly I think the biggest thing that would change is that pure financial freedom of knowing if the water heater breaks or if the opportunity pops up to go tour the world I can handle it.


Lynda April 4, 2012 at 6:54 pm

My family and I discussed this the day of the drawing and we all wished for the same thing and there’s 7 of us! We would buy every piece of farm ground in a 60 mile radius of our home ranch. We are a family of farmers…my husband, me, two grown sons and three grown daughters. Then we would mentor young people wishing to learn how to farm. My son-in-law is a new dentist that does a ton of pro-bono work… I would put together a mobile clinic for him so he can do what he loves the most.


Debra April 5, 2012 at 3:00 pm

that’s awesome!!!


Bauunny April 4, 2012 at 6:57 pm

This is so coincidental. At work we have been consumed this last quarter with a huge project that has /is a nightmare on many levels. We are all being stretched tom the limit, working lots of long hours and dealing with many frustrations. We all joke about winning the lottery so we could escape our current “hell”. We debate whether we would tell anyone or how fast we would quit our job if we won. Personally, I would tell no one, would see this project through (I can’t imagine leaving my work colleagues even more short of resources and my help) but I would retire within a year. I would love secretly give $$$ to be people and causes anonymously. I would also buy a new (to me) car as mine is almost 10 years old and is patiently doing it’s best to last until my daughter graduates from college, bless its heart. I would probably take a spa vacation and do some traveling.


Marcy April 4, 2012 at 8:54 pm

In Australia we had a similar very large lottery draw a few years ago. I’d never bought a ticket before, but my boss suggested our team (about 10 of us) all throw in $10 and get a syndicate ticket together.

It was a really fun week in the office leading up to the draw.

We discussed exactly this; what you’d do with the money. But we also talked about how much money you’d need to quit your job and not need to work again, who you’d tell, which family members you’d ignore calls from.

It was $10 really well spent in my eye.

After that week, I thought “Maybe I should just throw $10 towards a ticket each week, why not?” But on the balance of probabilities I decided I would rather have $520 at the end of the year.

To answer Katy’s question:

– Pay off my mortgage, my brother’s and my sister’s
– Buy my Dad his own self launching glider
– Buy a mini cooper! Or maybe something even more expensive.
– Donate $1M to the governing body of my sport, which is largely run and developed by volunteers
– LOTS of travel

I’d probably stick at my job for the short term, until I found a new thing with which to occupy my life. I could see myself working for some charities instead.


Lynda in the UK April 5, 2012 at 12:32 am

After the inevitable cup of tea to recover from the shock…
Pay off a number of mortgages for friends.
Buy myself and partner a house with a small plot of land.
Ensure several small businesses never need to worry about cash flow ever, ever again.
Hand pick charities and donate anonymously.
Be more generous to charities I do support (Moxafrica, Cats Protection…)
Set up a charity, cause to be decided.
Invest, in the deepest green and ethically sound way I can, to enable me to live on the interest and continue to fund others to help as many as possible.


Amber April 5, 2012 at 7:56 am

I would have paid of both my house and our rental house, set aside enough for retirement, set aside enough for my kids to go to college, hire someone to redo my bathroom, buy a new couch, and then made a donation to the Humane Society in my town. I would also start to spend more money on buying organic groceries. I may be a crazy cat lady or animal lady so I might buy 100o cats too or at least sponsor them.


WinterLightHomestead April 5, 2012 at 8:16 am

If I had hundreds of millions of dollars, I would:

Pay my half of getting braces on my son’s teeth. (Would still make his father step up. lol)
Set aside money for my son’s college (while still requiring his father to contribute).
Set up a trust for my son to help him and his future children about 20 years down the line. (With strict strings attached like he must have a job (to keep him from being a slacker trust fund brat) and there must be a prenuptual agreement with whomever he marries to save him from gold diggers, etc.)
Pay off my best friend’s mortgage and buy her and her husband’s dream farm complete with old Minneapolis Moline tractors for her to restore and a grausdaadi house for her mother.
Replace my best friend’s and her husband’s decrepit vehicles
Buy new, safe vehicles for my best friend’s five children
Buy homes for my best friend’s 3 grown children, pay off child #3’s grad school debt, pay for child #4’s welding courses, and set aside money for child #5’s upcoming vet tech college expenses.
Set aside money to help my best friend provide for her elderly, widowed mother’s care and middle aged special needs brother’s long term care after their mother passes
Set aside money to cover my parents’ health care needs and see to their security as they grow older
endow a text book fund for students in New College at The University of Alabama
For my best friend from university, I’d pay off his mortgage, set aside college money for his 2 sons, pay off his grad school loans, and let him know that I’m available to help as his parents age.
For my best friend from high school, I’d pay off her and her husband’s mortgage and set up a college fund for her daughter. I’d help cover her what her insurance doesn’t pay as she has very problematic diabetes and back problems.
For my friend Sarah, I’d pay off her and her husband’s debts, invest capital into their store, and buy them 2 new vehicles (as they only have 1 vehicle, and it hasn’t run for months). If any of their grown children or grandchildren want to go to college, I’ve got it covered.
For my dear friend of many years Chris, I’d pay off his debts and buy him a house (but, his live-in girlfriend of many years who keeps saying not yet whenever he proposes would not have her name on that house and any rights to it unless they finally married and stayed married for a while)
I’d buy a sheep farm for my friend Rachel’s family.
I’d give money to CAM (the Mennonite/Amish agency).
I’d give money to UMCOR (the United Methodist agency).
I’d give money to Rice Depot (Arkansas).
I’d give money to the Common Ground Collaborative (an ecumenical charity in San Diego County which I helped start up).
I’d give money to PORT homeless sheltering minstry in Newport News, VA. (I used to volunteer through my church.)
I’d give money to Air1 Christian radio.
I’d give money to KLOVE Christian radio.
I’d give money to NPR.
I’d give money to PBS.
I’d give money to the Goldring/Walenburg Institute of Southern Jewish Life, including but not limited to, funding at least one fellow per year. And, I’d set up an endowment with them in memory of my beloved George and in honor of his wife, my beloved Amelia.
I’d give money to the Northeast Arkansas Food Pantry.
I’d give money to the local food pantry.
I’d give money to the memorial fund set up to help the families of the 4 members of the USCG Dolphin helicopter crew who recently died in the crash in Mobile Bay.
I would provide aid to my friend Deb and her husband who are supporting/caring for her severely ailing, elderly parents.
I’d give money to World Vision in honor of Deb and her husband.
I’d give money to the local IGNITE ministerial alliance project.
I’d give money to help fund the Christmas food baskets the local Mormon church delivers.
I’d contact my dear friend Micah (who is a rabbi) and ask which of his favorite charities he wanted me to give to in his honor as an act of tzedakah.
The young daughter of one of the assistant managers at my work was critically injured last year and still needs ongoing therapy, future surgery, etc. I’d pay off all of that family’s medical bills and set up a trust for her ongoing care and rehabilitation for the disabilities she’s been left with.
I’d give to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital down in Memphis.
I’d provide trauma teddy bears for pediatric patients of my friend Kevin’s ambulance service.
I would buy a lot of books for our local library.
I’d fund care packages to our soldiers/Marines/sailors serving in the Middle East.
I’d give money to Wounded Warriors.
Two friends from church have a lot of legal bills from a custody battle. I’d pay off those bills to ease that burden for them to free up energy for them to focus on their healing.
One cousin has 3 children. One cousin has 2. All five would have college provided for. One of those was born severely prematurely last year. I’d pay off any remaining medical bills from her extended stay in the NICU.
I’d pay off my friend Amy and her husband’s mortgage and pay for college for their 4 children and help cover the medical bills for their 2 children who have chronic, serious illnesses.
I would invest in helping with the protection of sea turtles at Folley Beach on James Island, Charleston, SC.
I’d fund a search and rescue dog.
I’d get health insurance.
I’d get a passport.
I’d buy a pickup truck for long drives and hauling stuff. It would be an old pickup from the 60’s/70’s that I’d restore, a truck with nothing computerized, a truck I could work on by myself. My truck would be painted turquoise/teal. I would decorate it. It would become a big art car pickup truck, all quirky and unusual and gorgeous! I’d get a good hydraulic jack and jack stands and build up my toolbox and study up and practice a lot so I’d become competent at being my own mechanic.
I’d buy a pink Hello Kitty Moped for just putting about town when bicycling isn’t practical.
I’d buy a green Linus 3 speed Dutchi bicycle and deck it out with cute and useful basket, skirt guards, and paniers. It would be a supercute bicycle. Seriously cute. The cutest bike ever.
First, I would live in Chicago for a couple of years and go through the full series of writing and improv courses at the Second City Training Center.
And, while I was up north, I’d go hang out in Toronto a lot with some friends of mine.
Then, after I’d had my extended Chicago adventure, I would move to either the Gulf Coast of Florida or the North Carolina or South Carolina coast (places I have lived and loved, I am a beachrat!).
I’d buy a small house on about 5 acres and fortify the home for hurricanes. I’d develop a homestead that is as self-sustaining (and leaving as minimal a footprint) as possible with solar power, wind power, well water, rainwater barrels, LARGE organic garden with produce being preserved (and much of the food being donated to local hunger relief efforts), chickens, bicycle powered washing machine, clothes lines, wood burning stove, etc. I’d have alpacas for fiber (I’m a crocheter). I’d have a cat or two, a well-trained German shepherd, and angora rabbits.
My house on my homestead would have an epic craft room which would contain a fabulous stash of craft supplies.
I’d have an animal trailer to hook up to my pick up so I could evacuate my alpacas if need be due to hurricane. (The chickens and rabbits would be in cages in the bed of the pickup. The cat(s) and dog would ride up front with me.)
I would plant heirloom seeds. (e.g. See Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds catalog)
I’d spend every possible moment in the ocean. I’d get good quality mask, snorkel, and fins. One of those nifty self-purging masks with the button over the nose.
I would take whale watching boat trips. Yes, that’s plural. Trips. Annually at least.
Whenever I’d be away travelling, I’d pay (a) responsible, mature local FFA/4-H kid(s) with financial need/family difficulties to tend to my homestead. As each of these kids cowgirl/cowboyed up and worked for me well and didn’t let me down, I’d help them out on their way into college. It wouldn’t be a charity. It would be a a sort scholarship they’d earn by being honorable, hard working, mature-beyond-their-years young people.

I’m sure I could come up with some more ways to spend hundreds of millions of dollars (and, of course, investing so that the money wouldn’t run out), but my best friend just called. She needs a ride to pick up her son’s old vehicle as her old vehicle is in the shop. (See why I mentioned above that I’d buy her whole family new, safe, reliable vehicles?!?) So, I’ll have to postpone the rest of this daydreaming for later today! lol


Donna April 5, 2012 at 1:27 pm

Awesome absolutely awesome!


WinterLightHomestead April 5, 2012 at 8:21 am

Oh, and before I forget, I’d install an in-ground tornado shelter on my homestead.


Bonnie April 5, 2012 at 11:10 am

I’d buy as much farm land as I could surrounding my house and let it go back to natural prairie. Protect the land, no more corn fields.
I would put up a large wind turbine to supply electric to the neighborhood.
Solar panels.
Pay off debt (no brainer)
Give as much as it takes to keep the arts and music in our school.
Buy a really big used tractor that could take out a stump (just for fun)
Help others.


MP April 5, 2012 at 2:10 pm

With that kind of money I could afford to live in the state I want so I’d move and leave no forwarding address. Inlaw issues. Give some money to my siblings. Give the house we’re in here to our church. Let my hubby retire from work. Give some money to the food banks here in our current town.


Debra April 5, 2012 at 2:57 pm

I never buy tickets, didn’t last time either, though I fantasized plenty about what I’d do with it all:

I’d keep about 1/10th of it for myself.
I’d pay off mortages, student loans, and debt of all of my family and friends. I’d send several folks to college. I’d give my brother enough money to quit his crappy job and do whatever else it is he’d like to do.
I’d buy several people cars that are badly needed, and bicycles for anyone who wants one.
I’d rent out a resort and take family and friends to PAR-TAY on an all expenses paid vacation to Costa Rica or Hawaii.

Most importantly, I would have the BEST time EVER donating gobs of money to all sorts of wonderful charities and people in need. I’d donate to food banks, animal shelters, homeless shelters, Shriners hospitals, sponsor free spay & neuter days at vet clinics, create scholarships, donate to local schools – supplies, tutors for at risk kids, etc. I cannot imagine anything more fulfilling in life than doing all of these things. I would die one intensely happy woman!

No, I would not continue working. Instead, I’d study money management and investing. Growing my money would be my work. Volunteering and donating would be my passion. World travel would be my hobby – and I’d be good at it!


mairsydoats April 6, 2012 at 2:02 pm

First – pay off debts.
Second – buy house and in-law unit in great (walking) neighborhood.
Move friends and I onto property, and use part of the property to have rehearsal space.
Not work at anything that doesn’t excite me no end. (dayjob be gone!)

And you betcha – NOT make the award public!


Mama Minou April 6, 2012 at 10:29 pm

I was just thinking about this question in relation to yet another dire teacher-cutting class-size-increasing donation letter from my kids’ (Oregon) public school. Hello, giant public school donation! I was tickled to see that many of my wishful would-dos lined up with yours. I would also travel around the world and drag my teenagers and husband with me after all the other items.


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